Cleveland County Highpoint Trip Report

Benn Knob (2,894 ft)

Date: October 15, 2006
Author: Shannon Dillmore

I decided to hike this one from the parking area, wanting to get in some good hiking time and wanting to avoid driving up more gravel roads. As Ron Tagliapietra described in an earlier report, the waterfalls are pretty stunning on the early part of the hike; unfortunately, half of the 10 mile trip is on a paved - though lightly traveled - road. Ron's previous directions are good but some clarification may be in order near the summit.

From the south parking area (1400 feet), take the Hemlock Nature/Upper Falls trail west. You'll soon come to a signed trail junction. Take the left here following the sign for the Upper Falls Trail. Soon you'll come to another junction, which is an intersection with the loop trail. The sign is a bit confusing, as it would have you take the long way to the Upper Falls Trail Campground.

Take a left here and you'll pass some gorgeous waterfalls - one of over 80 feet. The trail gets steep for awhile but follow to the campground. Cross the large open field to a poorly marked junction with the Raven Rock Trail (as Ron says, you cross Jacob Fork here) and follow the trail to the Dogwood Trail intersection. Most of this is paved. Near the end, you'll follow an old jeep trail and finally come to a marked trail junction after about 2.5 miles on the Dogwood Trail. At this junction, you'll see a hairpin turn to your right that heads up a ridge (marked Benn Knob Trail) and an unmarked gravel road to your left.

Reading in the trip report that I should NOT take the Benn Knob Trail, I took the gravel road for about 15 minutes before realizing I was losing a lot of elevation and turned to see Benn Knob far above and behind me. I backtracked to the junction, then headed up Benn Knob trail. Soon you will reach a junction that isn't marked. HERE is where you want to take the left road up to the summit. There are limited views to the northwest from the summit.

With backtracking, the round trip was about 10.0 miles with 1700 feet of elevation gain. This hike took me about 4 hours and 30 minutes.